Senators News & Notes

This started as a short and sweet post and then Randy Lee opened his mouth so we’re going long-form (for me).  Usual stuff to start:

Ross A‘s recap of the Sens 4-2 loss to the Flyers made me laugh when he put Dave Cameron in the “poor decisions” department–it’s true, but I think Ross could put Cameron in that category most games.  Of note were that both Milan Michalek (long-term) and Mika Zibanejad (we don’t know) were injured in the game–this means Colin Greening will play his first NHL game of the season with the Sens planning to play seven defensemen.

Nichols worries that Craig Anderson is playing too much; undoubtedly Dave Cameron is reluctant to play Chris Driedger (he’s shown reluctance to play young players).  Anderson‘s current pace seems unsustainable and if it continues I’d expect him to start breaking down.


Travis Yost made a comment that’s so spot on it has to be repeated:

Reality is younger players get no rope if they are trying to leapfrog a veteran. Veteran will get hundreds of games despite being bad for no reason other than ‘he used to be our guy’ and a bunch of other random explainers attempted to deflect poor performance.

I think in certain circumstances we could throw in first-round picks into this equation as well; it also ties in with Randy Lee’s blithering below.


Ross A debunks the idea that it’s okay for the Sens give up a ton of shots because those shots are coming via poor areas.  This dovetails into the mantra from the stats community that Ottawa is benefiting from unsustainable goaltending.

I was catching up on Ian Mendes’ show “Advanced Chats” and I enjoyed Callum Fraser‘s appearance (it’s well worth listening too).


If you ever wonder how clueless the Sens can be Randy Lee is here to make that clear:

We have a pretty gritty team – which we really like, our grit factor down there.

So he likes a team that’s sitting near the bottom of the AHL and deserves to be there.  To translate, “gritty” means undisciplined and lacking talent–congrats Randy!  Like most of the Sens org (including the Binghamton coaching staff), I think Lee is stuck in the past–wistfully remembering the days when big, lumbering players would crash into each other (it’s not that long ago that Bryan Murray signed Matt Kassian to a one-way deal–hell, he traded for the guy).  One of the things that irks me a lot in conjunction with this is that Lee, like the rest of the organisation, talks about accountability, and yet when the team struggles it’s never the leadership or the coaches fault–instead younger players are the problem.  In that spirit Lee singles out the two best young prospects on the team (further below):

Some of our younger guys are having a difficult (time) transitioning, but definitely, the record is not where we thought it would be and we’re going to work our way out of it. And we’re going to challenge our guys to be better. We like the group. We like the team. You ask anybody on that team, they like the players on that team. We have a really good coaching staff. These guys care about these players. I think (the players) don’t know how good they have it down there with those coaches.

This is so laughably wrong that it’s difficult to accept Lee believes it, although he clearly does.  This suggests he doesn’t believe Richardson is at all responsible for this mess, which goes back to that lack of accountability.  I’ve pointed out numerous times basic errors made by the coaching staff (player usage, lack of player accountability especially when it comes to penalties, inability to recognize who is and isn’t performing, etc), but these are apparently above the heads of those in charge.  Back to Lee:

We have good leadership down there and we’re very happy with our grunt guys like our Max McCormicks and these types of guys and our Mark Frasers. We have a good group down there. Patrick Mullen and (Michael) Kostka, (Eric) O’Dell and (Zack) Stortini, but we need younger guys like Tobias Lindberg, Nick Paul and a few other guys to really step up their game and show us who they are because we know what type of game they can play. So these guys have to step up and we’re going to support them. We’re not calling them out. We’re just telling them that they have to be better on a daily basis.

Anyone who has watched Binghamton this year knows Fraser has been awful–playing with Mullen helps him out a great deal, but he’s essentially a much less talented version of Mark Borowiecki.  As readers know I’m not a fan of Stortini either, but the guy is what he is–it’s Richardson fault for playing him too much.  I have no idea why Lee decided to point the finger at Paul and Lindberg specifically when it’s wunderkind Matt O’Connor who keeps shitting the bed.  While Paul is struggling with his confidence, he’s a 20-year old kid who needs time and the right linemates to succeed; he’s been fine defensively despite the offensive slump so there’s no cause for concern.  Lindberg, because he’s not physical, has been jerked around for basically no reason–the fact that he’s still producing is remarkable given all he’s had to put up with (scratched twice, 8 different linemates, six different line combinations, in and out of the powerplay, etc).  We all know that plus/minus is irrelevant, but the Sens think it matters and Lindberg is second on the team at +5, yet they give him no credit for it.  The kid has to live up to a different standard than the rest of his teammates and that just reflects how bad the coaching is.  Let’s throw a little stats into the equation to show how Lindberg impacts the team:
Team shot differential with Lindberg-O’Dell-Dzingel as a line (10 games): +36 (3.6 per)
The same without that combination (9): -56 (6.22)
Games with Lindberg scratched (2): -27 (13.5)
Other games with Lindberg (7): -29 (4.14)
Dzingel with/without: 10-3-6-9 / 9-2-3-5

For those who don’t watch Binghamton play it’s important to realise just how poorly the team has been constructed.  They are a terrible possession team with a laughable defensecorps and terrible goaltending.  To break it down as briefly as possible there are 3 blueliners who can make a pass (MullenKostka, and Claesson), with the former two the only ones able to really carry the puck (Carlisle fits both categories, but Richardson plays him as a forward most of the time ’cause he’s not good in da corners).  The forward group is desperately thin, populated with dump-and-chase guys with limited offensive potential, so the only players who drive possession for the team are the aforementioned rookies (especially Lindberg), along with Dzingel (who was jerked around last year), O’Dell to a lesser extent (he’s more of a shooter), and Schneider.  That’s it.  Puempel is a shooter who needs someone to do the work for him.  This is the state of things so Lee’s obliviousness blows my mind.

Back to Nichols (whose transcript I’m quoting): he makes excellent points about Lee’s (and the organisation’s) misreading of the Mikael Wikstrand situation–completely spot on and I recommend reading the full text (it’s long) about it.

Other BSen notes: Mark Fraser was suspended two games for his boarding penalty against Albany on the 27th.  In another roster related move, Michael Kostka was returned from Ottawa (not having suited up) and Darian Dziurzynski was sent back to the ECHL.


In their final of back-to-back-to-back games against Alaska, they won 5-3 despite being badly out shot again (44-26).  Keegan Asmundsen won his first game with the IceMen.  A look at the goals:
1. Without a shot in the first six minutes of the game, Alaska’s goaltender gives up a juicy rebound and Guptill bangs in the rebound
2. Asmundsen can’t keep his foot against the post and a weak backhand beats him short side
3. Alaska passes to Sims and Guptill scores off a one-timer on the PP
4. The same PP Guptill scores with a wrist shot from the top of the circle that deflects in off a defenseman
5. Less than a minute later MacDonald is sprung on a breakaway and scores high backhand
6. Humphries takes a dumb crosschecking penalty and on the PP Asmundsen is beaten five-hole from the point
7. On a bad line change Rutkowski crashes into two forwards which let’s the Alaska player go in on Asmundsen who is beat on the rebound
8. Fawcett hits the empty net from well inside his own zone

Dunn was a healthy scratch yet again (Leveille sat for the first time this year–I’m not sure if he’s hurt or not).  In terms of shot differential the IceMen were -56 through the three games and are extremely fortunate to have won two of them.  The hat-trick for Guptill marks his first goals in the ECHL (before this game he was 8-0-1-1).  I haven’t been a huge fan of Sims, but he played well against the Aces.


Francis Perron (Rouyn-Noranda) 24-22-25-47
He’s 3rd in league scoring, 2nd in points-per-game, and well ahead of his teammates in productivity
Filip Chlapik
(Charlottetown) 24-6-16-22
He’s 64th in league scoring and 2nd on his team
Tomas Chabot
(Saint John) 22-7-13-20
11th in scoring among defensemen (6th in points-per-game), he’s well ahead of his blueline teammates in production
Gabriel Gagne (Victoriaville) 4-3-0-3
Has barely played due to injury

Joel Daccord (Muskegon) 8-6-0 2.32 .916
He’s 9th in league save percentage, 8th in GAA

Colin White (Boston College) 13-7-14-21
He’s 6th in collegiate scoring (7th in points-per-game), and leads his talented squad in scoring
Christian Wolanin (U North Dakota) 14-3-5-8
Tied with many players for 32nd in blueline scoring; he’s tied for second on his team behind undrafted junior Troy Stecher
Quentin Shore (U Denver) 12-4-2-6
Not a great senior year for the forward who sits 8th in team scoring
Kelly Summers
(Clarkson U) 13-0-6-6
Sits 2nd in team scoring from the blueline, just a point behind Detroit draft pick (and junior) James De Haas
Robert Baillargeon
(Boston U) 14-2-2-4
Pretty abysmal season for the junior forward; he’s tied for 11th in team scoring
Shane Eiserman (New Hampshire) 12-0-4-4
11th in team scoring
Miles Gendron (Connecticut) 9-2-1-3
3rd in scoring from the blueline
Chris Leblanc (Merrimack) 10-1-0-1
Pretty much fallen off the charts this season; tied for 18th in scoring

Marcus Hogberg (Linkoping) 7-3-3 2.63 .897
He’s been outplayed by veteran David Rautio this season and his numbers aren’t great (13th in save percentage and GAA)
Andreas Englund (Djurgardens) 22-1-0-1
His career SHL totals are 73-3-3-6, but he’s good in the corners so keep an eye on him….
Filip Ahl
(HV71) 12-0-0-0 (HV71 Jr) 14-14-11-25
Not ready for prime time in the SHL yet, but his junior numbers are ridiculous
Christian Jaros (Lulea) 3-0-0-0 (Asploven Jr) 17-1-3-4
Bueliner is 5th in scoring on the team, but does lead them in PIMs

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


1 Comment

  1. […] pretty high on Tobias Lindberg” – something hard to tell from Lee’s comments earlier in the season (although Pierre Dorian did say: “His skill set and his skating is good NHL, not just NHL, […]

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